Concession allowing Saudi Arabia to manage Brussels Grand Mosque withdrawn
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    Concession allowing Saudi Arabia to manage Brussels Grand Mosque withdrawn

    © Belga
    Koen Geens now has to enter into a dialogue with the Muslim Executive of Belgium, regarding the future management of the Grand Mosque.
    © Belga

    The letter of intent ending the concession granted to Saudi Arabia for the management of the Grand Mosque, in the Parc du Cinquantenaire, was sent on March 29th. The formal withdrawal will consequently happen on March 31st, 2019. The Minister for the Interior, Jan Jambon, indicated the position to parliament on Thursday.

    Contacts will be made with the Muslim community in Belgium to resume the management of the mosque. Koen Geens is the relevant competent government Minister for Religions. He must now enter into a dialogue with the Muslim Executive of Belgium.

    Minister Jambon (of the New Flemish Alliance) endorsed the criticisms of OCAM (the Organ for the Coordination of Threat Analysis). The organ says that it is necessary to ensure that Belgium does not make the same mistake with the Executive as it has done in the past. Some believe that the Executive is highly influenced by Moroccan and Turkish religious institutions.

    That having been said, Jambon, also the Deputy Prime Minister, curtly rebuffed the Vlaams Belang deputy, Filip Dewinter, who invited him to henceforth deprive all Muslims of their mosques. For his part, the deputy, Georges Dallemagne (of the Humanist Democratic Centre) confirmed that there is a new generation of Muslims. Far from practising Salafism and Wahhabism, they simply ask for the right to invest in the management of these places of religion. Dallemagne thus encouraged his far-right colleague to study the Muslim religion again.

    Christopher Vincent
    The Brussels Times